Peaceful, the son and successor of David, born of Bathsheba, B. C. 1033. The prophet Nathan called him Jedidiah, "beloved of the Lord," 2Sa 12:25 and he was a child of promise, 1Ch 22:9-10. At the age of eighteen he received from David the throne which his brother Adonijah had endeavored to usurp. Scripture records his earnest and pious petition for wisdom from above, that he might govern that great people well; and the bestowal of the wisdom, with numerous other blessings in its train, Mt 6:33. His unequalled learning and sagacity soon became renowned throughout the East, and continue so even to this day. In every kind of temporal prosperity he was preeminently favored. His unquestioned dominion extended from the Euphrates to the "river of Egypt;" Palmyra in the desert and Ezion-geber on the Red Sea were in his possession. He accomplished David's purpose by erecting a temple for Jehovah with the utmost magnificence. Many other important public and private works were executed during his reign. He established a lucrative commerce with Tyre, Egypt, Arabia, India, and Babylon, by the fruits of which he himself first and chiefly, and indirectly the whole land, were greatly enriched. He was the wisest, wealthiest, most honored, and fortunate of men. But through the temptation connected with this flood of prosperity, he became luxurious, proud, and forgetful of God; plunged into every kind of self-indulgence; allowed his wives, and at length assisted them, in their abominable idolatries; and forfeited the favor of God. Yet divine grace did not forsake him; he was reclaimed, and has given us the proofs of his repentance and the fruits of his experience in his inspired writings. His reign continued forty years, B. C. 1015-975, and was uniformly peaceful, and favorable to the people, if we except the evils of a corrupt example and an excessive taxation. His history is less fully recorded than David's is by the sacred historians, 1Ki 1:11; 2Ch 1-9; but we may learn much respecting him from his writings, especially from the book of Ecclesiastes. Nothing could more emphatically teach us the weakness of human nature, even when accompanied with the utmost learning and sagacity, the perils of prosperity, or the insufficiency of all possible earthy good to satisfy the wants of man.
The writings of Solomon covered a wide range in the natural sciences as well as in philosophy and morals. "He spake three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five: and he spake of trees-of beasts, and of foul, and of creeping things, and of fishes," 1Ki 4:32-33.
SOLOMON'S POOLS, Ec 2:6. Among these may perhaps be included the ancient structures now so called, two or three miles southwest of Bethlehem. These are three large reservoirs lying one above and beyond another in a narrow valley. They are built of large stones, and plastered within; and the water collected in them, and in several fountains in the vicinity, was conveyed in an aqueduct to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The upper pool is 380 feet in length, and the middle pool 423 and the lower on 582. Their average breadth is 200 feet and their depth 38 feet. At present they contain comparatively little water; yet they are of incalculable importance to Bethlehem, and might easily be made so to Jerusalem. The aqueduct crosses the valley of Hinnom below the southwest corner of the city wall, winds south around Mount Zion, and turns north again into the city towards the Haram area.
SOLOMON'S PORCH. See TEMPLE.
SOLOMON'S SONG called also CANTICLES, and Song of Songs, B. C. 1012. This highly figurative and beautiful poem has always held a place in the canonical Scriptures, and of course was a part of the Bible in the time of Christ; it was so regarded by the early Christians, and appears in the ancient catalogues, manuscripts, and versions. Numerous and very different opinions have been held as to the subject and plan of this poem; but that its design is to set forth the spiritual love and mutual communion between Christ and his people, is evident from its harmony, when so understood, with the large class of Scripture passages which represent God and particularly Christ as the husband of the church, and employ the marriage relation in its various aspects to illustrate the relation between the Savior and his people. Thus Ps 45 is a Messianic nuptial song. See also Isa 54:5; 62:5; Jer 3; Eze 16; Ho 1-3; 2Co 11:2; Eph 5:23-32; Re 19:7-9; 21:2-9.
In the exposition of this beautiful poem we must remember the difference between eastern and western nations. Modern conventional rules and notions. Modern conventional rules and notions are not the standard to which its plan, its images, or its phraseology should be brought. The veiling of spiritual fervor and enjoyment under the symbol of love is common among oriental nations, and commentators have quoted portions of eastern allegorical songs, which bear no small resemblance to this inspired allegory. Many Christians, deeply imbued with the spirit of the gospel, have found great delight and benefit in reading it. Jonathan Edwards says, "I found an inward sweetness that would carry me away in my contemplations. This I know not how to express otherwise than by a calm, delightful abstraction of the soul from all concerns of the world; and sometimes a kind of vision of fixed ideas and imaginations of being alone in the mountains or some solitary wilderness, far from mankind, sweetly conversing with Christ, and rapt and swallowed up in God. The sense I had of divine things would often of a sudden kindle up an ardor in my soul that I knew not how to express. While thus engaged, it always seemed natural to me to sing or chant forth my mediations, or to speak my thoughts in soliloquies with a singing voice."
Dr. John Brown of Haddington, in the introduction to his admirable paraphrase of this book, says, "If understood of the marriage and fellowship between Christ and his people, it will appear most exalted, instructive, and heart-warming. Its majestic style, its power on men's conscience to promote holiness and purity the harmony of its language with that of Christ's parables and the books of Revelation, the sincerity of the bride in acknowledging her faults, and its general reception by the Jewish and Christian church, sufficiently prove it inspired of God. To such as read it with a carnal and especially with a wanton mind, it is the savor of death unto death, as the mind and conscience of such are defiled; but to such as have experienced much fellowship with Christ, and read it with a heavenly and spiritual temper of mind, it will be the savor of life unto life. The speakers in it are, Christ, Believers, and the Daughters of Jerusalem," or companions and friends of believers.
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peaceful, (Heb Shelomoh), David's second son by Bathsheba, i.e., the first after their legal marriage (2Sa 12). He was probably born about B.C. 1035 (1Ch 22:5; 29:1). He succeeded his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about sixteen or eighteen years of age. Nathan, to whom his education was intrusted, called him Jedidiah, i.e., "beloved of the Lord" (2Sa 12:24-25). He was the first king of Israel "born in the purple." His father chose him as his successor, passing over the claims of his elder sons: "Assuredly Solomon my son shall reign after me." His history is recorded in 1KI 1-11 and 2CH 1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father's death, and was hastened on mainly by Nathan and Bathsheba, in consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah (1Ki 1:5-40). During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained its highest splendour. This period has well been called the "Augustan age" of the Jewish annals. The first half of his reign was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell, mainly from his heathen intermarriages (1Ki 11:1-8; 14:21,31).
Before his death David gave parting instructions to his son (1Ki 2:1-9; 1Ch 22:7-16; 28). As soon as he had settled himself in his kingdom, and arranged the affairs of his extensive empire, he entered into an alliance with Egypt by the marriage of the daughter of Pharaoh (1Ki 3:1), of whom, however, nothing further is recorded. He surrounded himself with all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an Eastern monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, who in many ways greatly assisted him in his numerous undertakings. (See Hiram.)
For some years before his death David was engaged in the active work of collecting materials (1Ch 29:6-9; 2Ch 2:3-7) for building a temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode for the ark of the covenant. He was not permitted to build the house of God (1Ch 22:8); that honour was reserved to his son Solomon. (See Temple.)
After the completion of the temple, Solomon engaged in the erection of many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem and in other parts of his kingdom. For the long space of thirteen years he was engaged in the erection of a royal palace on Ophel (1Ki 7:1-12). It was 100 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high. Its lofty roof was supported by forty-five cedar pillars, so that the hall was like a forest of cedar wood, and hence probably it received the name of "The House of the Forest of Lebanon." In front of this "house" was another building, which was called the Porch of Pillars, and in front of this again was the "Hall of Judgment," or Throne-room (1Ki 7:7; 10:18-20; 2Ch 9:17-19), "the King's Gate," where he administered justice and gave audience to his people. This palace was a building of great magnificence and beauty. A portion of it was set apart as the residence of the queen consort, the daughter of Pharaoh. From the palace there was a private staircase of red and scented sandal wood which led up to the temple.
Solomon also constructed great works for the purpose of securing a plentiful supply of water for the city (Ec 2:4-6). He then built Millo (LXX., "Acra") for the defence of the city, completing a line of ramparts around it (1Ki 9:15,24; 11:27). He erected also many other fortifications for the defence of his kingdom at various points where it was exposed to the assault of enemies (1Ki 9:15-19; 2Ch 8:2-6). Among his great undertakings must also be mentioned the building of Tadmor (q.v.) in the wilderness as a commercial depot, as well as a military outpost.
During his reign Palestine enjoyed great commercial prosperity. Extensive traffic was carried on by land with Tyre and Egypt and Arabia, and by sea with Spain and India and the coasts of Africa, by which Solomon accumulated vast stores of wealth and of the produce of all nations (1Ki 9:26-28; 10:11-12; 2Ch 8:17-18; 9:21). This was the "golden age" of Israel. The royal magnificence and splendour of Solomon's court were unrivalled. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, an evidence at once of his pride, his wealth, and his sensuality. The maintenance of his household involved immense expenditure. The provision required for one day was "thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow-deer, and fatted fowl" (1Ki 4:22-23).
Solomon's reign was not only a period of great material prosperity, but was equally remarkable for its intellectual activity. He was the leader of his people also in this uprising amongst them of new intellectual life. "He spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1Ki 4:32-33).
His fame was spread abroad through all lands, and men came from far and near "to hear the wisdom of Solomon." Among others thus attracted to Jerusalem was "the queen of the south" (Mt 12:42), the queen of Sheba, a country in Arabia Felix. "Deep, indeed, must have been her yearning, and great his fame, which induced a secluded Arabian queen to break through the immemorial custom of her dreamy land, and to put forth the energy required for braving the burdens and perils of so long a journey across a wilderness. Yet this she undertook, and carried it out with safety." (1Ki 10:1-13; 2Ch 9:1-12.) She was filled with amazement by all she saw and heard: "there was no more spirit in her." After an interchange of presents she returned to her native land.
But that golden age of Jewish history passed away. The bright day of Solomon's glory ended in clouds and darkness. His decline and fall from his high estate is a sad record. Chief among the causes of his decline were his polygamy and his great wealth. "As he grew older he spent more of his time among his favourites. The idle king living among these idle women, for 1,000 women, with all their idle and mischievous attendants, filled the palaces and pleasure-houses which he had built (1Ki 11:3), learned first to tolerate and then to imitate their heathenish ways. He did not, indeed, cease to believe in the God of Israel with his mind. He did not cease to offer the usual sacrifices in the temple at the great feasts. But his heart was not right with God; his worship became merely formal; his soul, left empty by the dying out of true religious fervour, sought to be filled with any religious excitement which offered itself. Now for the first time a worship was publicly set up amongst the people of the Lord which was not simply irregular or forbidden, like that of Gideon (Jg 8:27), or the Danites (Jg 18:30-31), but was downright idolatrous." (1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13.)
This brought upon him the divine displeasure. His enemies prevailed against him (1Ki 11:14-22,23-25,26-40), and one judgment after another fell upon the land. And now the end of all came, and he died, after a reign of forty years, and was buried in the city of David, and "with him was buried the short-lived glory and unity of Israel." "He leaves behind him but one weak and worthless son, to dismember his kingdom and disgrace his name."
The kingdom of Solomon, says Rawlinson, "is one of the most striking facts in the Biblical history. A petty nation, which for hundreds of years has with difficulty maintained a separate existence in the midst of warlike tribes, each of which has in turn exercised dominion over it and oppressed it, is suddenly raised by the genius of a soldier-monarch to glory and greatness. An empire is established which extends from the Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, a distance of 450 miles; and this empire, rapidly constructed, enters almost immediately on a period of peace which lasts for half a century. Wealth, grandeur, architectural magnificence, artistic excellence, commercial enterprise, a position of dignity among the great nations of the earth, are enjoyed during this space, at the end of w
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Shlomoh in Hebrew. Second child of David by Bathsheba. Josephus makes Solomon last born of David's sons (Ant. 7:14, section 2). His history is contained in 2Sa 12:24-25; 1-Chronicles/22/6/type/isv'>1Ch 22:6-16,1 Kings 1-11; 2 Chronicles 1-9. The leading events of his life were selected, under inspiration: namely, his grandeur, extensive commerce, and wisdom, etc. (1Ki 9:10-10:29), from "the book of the Acts of Solomon"; his accession and dedication of the temple (1 Kings 1 - 1 Kings 8:66) from "the book of Nathan the prophet"; his idolatry and its penal consequences (1 Kings 11) from "the book of Ahijah the Shilonite and the visions of Iddo the seer." Psalm 72 was his production under the Spirit. Its objective character accords with Solomon's other writings, whereas subjective feeling characterizes David's psalms. Solomon's glorious and wide kingdom typifies Messiah's. The Nile, Mediterranean, and Euphrates, were then Israel's bounds (1Ki 4:21; 2Ch 9:26) as promised in Ge 15:18; De 11:24.
From thence Messiah is to reign to the ends of the earth (De 11:8; Isa 9:5-6; Isaiah 11; Zec 9:10; see Mic 5:4; Nu 24:19). "The song of degrees," i.e. for Israelites going up to the great feasts at Jerusalem (Psalm 127), was also Solomon's. It has no trace of the sadness which pervades "the songs of degrees" without titles, and which accords with the post captivity period. The individual comes into prominence here, whereas they speak more of the nation and church. The theme suits Solomon who occupied chiefly the domestic civic territory. The main thought answers to Pr 10:22, "so God giveth His beloved sleep," i.e. undisturbed repose and wealth without the anxieties of the worldly, in a way they know not how (Mr 4:27). So God gave to His beloved S. in sleep (Hengstenberg supplies "in"); Mt 6:25,34. Jedidiah ("beloved of Jehovah," Ps 127:2) was his God-given name (Ps 60:5). Solomon evidently refers (Ps 60:2) to his own experience (1Ki 3:5-13; 4:20-25), yet in so unstudied a way that the coincidence is evidently undesigned, and so confirms the authenticity of both psalm and independent history. (See PROVERBS; CANTICLES; ECCLESIASTES.)
His name Solomon, "peaceful", was given in accordance with the early prophecy that, because of wars, David should not build Jehovah's house, but that a son should be born to him, "a man of rest," who should build it (1Ch 22:9; compare the fulfillment 1Ki 4:25; 5:4, and the Antitype Mt 11:29; Ps 132:8-14; Isa 11:10; 9:6; Eph 2:14). His birth was to David a pledge that God is at peace with him. Jehovah commissioned Nathan ("sent by the hand of Nathan"), and Nathan called David's son Jedidiah "for Jehovah's sake," i.e. because Jehovah loved him. Jehovah's naming him so assured David that Jehovah loved Solomon. Jedidiah was therefore not his actual name, but expressed Jehovah's relation to him (2Sa 12:24-25). Tradition makes Nathan the prophet his instructor, Jehiel was governor of the royal princes (1Ch 27:32). Jehovah chose Solomon of all David's sons to be his successor, and promised to be his father, and to establish his kingdom for ever, if he were constant to His commandments (1Ch 28:5-7).
Accordingly David swore to Bathsheba that her son should succeed. She pleaded this at the critical moment of Adonijah's rebellion (1Ki 1:13,17,30). (See ADONIJAH.) By the interposition of Nathan the prophet, Zadok the priest, Benaiah, Shimei, and Rei, David's mighty men, Solomon was at David's command taken on the king's own mule to Gihon, anointed, and proclaimed king. Solomon would have spared Adonijah but for his incestuous and treasonous desire to have Abishag his father's concubine; he mercifully spared the rest of his brothers who had joined Adonijah. (See ADONIJAH.) Abiathar he banished to Anathoth for treason, thus fulfilling the old curse on Eli (1Sa 2:31-35). (See ABIATHAR.) Joab the murderer he put to death, according to his father's dying charge, illustrating Solomon's own words, Ec 8:12-13. Shimei fell by breaking his own engagement on oath.
Solomon's reverent dutifulness to his mother amidst all his kingly state appears in the narrative (1Ki 2:12; Ex 20:12; Ps 45:9; Pr 1:8; 4:3; 6:20; 10:1). The ceremonial of coronation and anointing was repeated more solemnly before David and all the congregation, with great sacrifices and glad feastings, Zadok at the same time being anointed "priest"; and Jehovah magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel (1Ch 29:20-25). He was "yet young and tender" (1Ch 29:1; 22:5; 1Ki 3:7; "I am but a little child," Pr 4:3); perhaps 20 years of age: as Rehoboam was 41 at his accession and Solomon had reigned 40 years, Rehoboam must have been born before Solomon's accession (1Ki 11:42; 14:21). Solomon loved the Lord who had first loved him; 1Ki 3:3. (See JEDIDIAH.)
He walked in David's godly ways but there being no one exclusive temple yet, he sacrificed in high places, especially at the great high place in Gibeon, where was the tabernacle with its altar, while the ark was in Zion. After his offering there a thousand burnt offerings God in vision gave him his choice of goods. In the spirit of a child (see 1Co 2:14) he asked for an understanding heart to discern between good and bad (compare Jas 1:5; 3:17; 2Ti 3:17; Pr 2:3-9; Ps 72:1-2; Heb 5:14). God gave him, besides wisdom, what he had not asked, riches, honour, and life, because he made wisdom his first desire (Jas 4:3; 1Jo 5:14-15; Ec 1:16; Mt 6:33; Eph 3:20; Pr 3:2,16; Ps 91:16). His wise decision as to the owner of the living child established his reputation for wisdom.
His Egyptian queen, Pharaoh's daughter, is distinguished from "the strange women" who seduced him to idolatry (1Ki 11:1), and no Egyptian superstitions are mentioned. Still he did not let her as a foreigner stay in the palace of David, sanctified as it was by the presence of the ark, but assigned her a dwelling in the city of David and then brought her up out of the city of David to the palace he had built for her (2Ch 8:11; 1Ki 9:24; 3:1). Gezer was her dowry. (See GEZER.) Toward the close of his reign God chastised him for idolatry because, beginning with latitudinarian toleration of his foreign wives' superstitions, be ended with adopting them himself; retaining at the same time what cannot be combined with idolatry, Jehovah's worship (Eze 20:39,1 Kings 11). Jeroboam "lifted up his hand against the king, and fled to Shishak (of a new dynasty) of Egypt"; Rezon of Zobah on the N.E. frontier and Hadad the Edomite became his adversaries, Solomon otherwise had uninterrupted peace. (See JEROBOAM; REZON; HADAD.)
Among his buildings were the famous Tadmor or Palmyra in the wilderness, to carry on commerce with inland Asia, and store cities in Hamath; Bethhoron, the Upper and the Nether, on the border toward Philistia and Egypt; Hazor and Megiddo, guarding the plain of Esdraelon; Baalath or Baalbek, etc. (See TADMOR.) (On 1Ki 10:28, see LINEN, and on 1Ki 10:29, see HORSE.) Tiphsah ("Thapsacus") on the Euphrates (1Ki 4:24) was his limit in that direction. On Lebanon he built lofty towers (2Ch 8:6; Song 7:4) "looking toward Damascus" (1Ki 9:19). The Hittite and Syrian kings, vassals of Solomon, were supplied from Egypt with chariots and horses through the king's merchants. Hiram was his ally, and supplied him with timber in return for 20,000 measures (core) of wheat and 20 measures of pure oil (1 Kings 5). Solomon gave him at the end of his great buildings 20 cities in Galilee, with which Hiram was dissatisfied. (See CABUL.)
Solomon had his navy at Ezion Geber, near Eloth on the Red Sea, which went to Ophir and brought back 420 talents of gold; and a navy of Tarshish which sailed with Hiram's navy in the Mediterranean, bringing every three years "gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks." (See TARSHISH.) For the first time Israel began to be a commercial nation, and Solomon's occupation of Edom enabled him to open to Hiram his ally a new field of commerce. His own interest in it is evidenced by his going in person to Elath and Ezion Geber to view the preparations for expeditions (2Ch 8:17; compare his allusions to seafaring life, P
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Son of David and Bathsheba. Bath-sheba He reigned forty years over the united kingdom from B.C. 1015 to 975. David when near his death appointed Solomon his son, whom God had chosen to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of Jehovah, to be his successor, and he began his reign by executing righteous judgement, as Christ will when He comes to reign, followed by a reign of peace. He put to death Adonijah who had usurped the throne, and Joab who had shed innocent blood; and he cast Abiathar out of the priesthood. His marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is symbolical of Christ having the church (mainly Gentiles) with Him when He comes to reign.
Solomon loved the Lord, and worshipped Him at the altar at Gibeon, and there the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and said, "Ask what I shall give thee." Solomon asked for an understanding heart to judge the people wisely. The choice pleased God, and He gave him wisdom such as no king before nor since has had, and added to it both riches and honour beyond all others. If he would be obedient God would lengthen his days. His wisdom soon became apparent by his judgement in the case of the two women with the living and dead child. And people came from all the kings of the earth to hear his wisdom. The queen of Sheba came also. This is again symbolical of the reign of Christ during the millennium. It is further exemplified by all dwelling in safety, "every man under his vine and under his fig tree . . . . all the days of Solomon."
He was occupied for seven years in building the temple, for which David had made preparation. He built also his own house and one for Pharaoh's daughter. When the temple was dedicated, Solomon sacrificed and prayed to Jehovah. In answer to which Jehovah appeared to him a second time, and said, He had hallowed the house, had put His name there, and His heart should be there perpetually. God would continue to bless him and establish his house in Israel, on the condition that Solomon was obedient, and turned not to other gods.
Everything for a time was ordered wisely. The riches of Solomon increased so much that silver was of little value in his days. He had his navy of ships, which brought him riches, and he increased his chariots and his horsemen, and brought horses out of Egypt (an act that had been forbidden in the law, De 17:16). He tells us that he had tried everything under the sun, but had to declare that all was vanity and vexation of spirit. The Lord declared that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as a simple lily of the field. His fall, alas, followed, for he loved many strange women, which turned his heart away, and he went after their gods, and built high places for them.
God then stirred up adversaries against Solomon, and by the prophet Ahijah He foretold that Jeroboam would reign over ten of the tribes. He would reserve two to keep in memorial before Him the name of David. Still Solomon did not repent, but sought the life of Jeroboam. God did not prolong Solomon's days, for he died at about the age of 58.
We read of Solomon that he spake three thousand proverbs, and his songs were a thousand and five. He was the writer of the books of the Proverbs, the Ecclesiastes, and the Canticles. His reign is given in 1 Kings 1 - 1 Kings 12; 2 Chr. 1 - 2 Chr. 9.
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(peaceful). I. Early life and occasion to the throne. --Solomon was the child of David's old age, the last born of all his sons.
The yearnings of the "man of war" led him to give to the new-horn infant the name of Solomon (Shelomoth, the peaceful one). Nathan, with a marked reference to the meaning of the king's own name (David, the darling, the beloved one), calls the infant Jedidiah (Jedid'yah), that is, the darling of the Lord.
He was placed under the care of Nathan from his earliest infancy. At first, apparently, there was no distinct purpose to make him the heir. Absalom was still the king's favorite son,
and was looked on by the people as the destined successor.
The death of Absalom when Solomon was about ten years old left the place vacant, and David pledged his word in secret to Bath-sheba that he, and no other, should be the heir.
The words which were spoken somewhat later express, doubtless, the purpose which guided him throughout.
His son's life should not he as his own had been, one of hardships and wars, dark crimes and passionate repentance, but, from first to last, be pure, blameless, peaceful, fulfilling the ideal of glory and of righteousness after which he himself had vainly striven. The glorious visions of
... may be looked on as the prophetic expansion of these hopes of his old age. So far,all was well. Apparently his influence over his son's character was one exclusively for good. Nothing that we know of Bath-sheba lends us to think of her as likely to mould her son's mind and heart to the higher forms of goodness. Under these influences the boy grew up. At the age of ten or eleven he must have passed through the revolt of Absalom, and shared his father's exile.
He would be taught all that priests or Levites or prophets had to teach. When David was old and feeble, Adonijah, Solomon's older brother attempted to gain possession of the throne; but he was defeated, and Solomon went down to Gihon and was proclaimed and anointed king. A few months more and Solomon found himself, by his father's death, the sole occupant of the throne. The position to which he succeeded was unique. Never before, and never after, did the kingdom of Israel take its place among the great monarchies of the East. Large treasures, accumulated through many years, were at his disposal. II. Personal appearance. --Of Solomon's personal appearance we have no direct description, as we have of the earlier kings. There are, however, materials for filling up the gap. Whatever higher mystic meaning may be latent in
... or the Song of Songs, we are all but compelled to think of them us having had at least a historical starting-point. They tell of one who was, in the eyes of the men of his own time, "fairer than the children of men," the face "bright, and ruddy" as his father's,
bushy locks, dark as the raven's wing, yet not without a golden glow, the eyes soft as "the eyes of cloves," the "countenance as Lebanon excellent as the cedars," "the chiefest among ten thousand, the altogether lovely."
Add to this all gifts of a noble, far-reaching intellect large and ready sympathies, a playful and genial humor, the lips "full of grace," and the soul "anointed" as "with the oil of gladness,"
... and we may form some notion of what the king was like in that dawn of his golden prime. III. Reign. --All the data for a continuous history that we have of Solomon's reign are-- (a) The duration of the reign, forty sears, B.C. 1015-975.
(b) The commencement of the temple in the fourth, its completion in the eleventh, year of his reign.
(c) The commencement of his own palace in the seventh, its completion in the twentieth, year.
(d) The conquest of Hamath-zobah, and the consequent foundation of cities in the region of north Palestine after the twentieth year.
IV. Foreign policy. --
1. Egypt. The first act of the foreign policy of the new reign must have been to most Israelites a very startling one. He made affinity with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, by marrying his daughter
The immediate results were probably favorable enough. The new queen brought with her as a dowry the frontier city of Gezer. But the ultimate issue of alliance showed that it was hollow and impolitic.
2. Tyre. The alliance with the Phoenician king rested on a somewhat different footing. It had been a part of David's policy from the beginning of his reign. Hiram had been "ever a lover of David." As soon as he heard of Solomon's accession he sent ambassadors to salute him. A correspondence passed between the two kings, which ended in a treaty of commerce. The opening of Joppa as a port created a new coasting-trade, and the materials from Tyre were conveyed to that city on floats, and thence to Jerusalem.
In return for these exports, the Phoenicians were only too glad to receive the corn and oil of Solomon's territory. The results of the alliance did not end here. Now, for the first time in the history of the Jews, they entered on a career as a commercial people.
3. The foregoing were the two most important to Babylon alliances. The absence of any reference to Babylon and Assyria, and the fact that the Euphrates was recognized as the boundary of Solomon's kingdom,
suggests the inference that the Mesopotamian monarchies were at this time comparatively feeble. Other neighboring nations were content to pay annual tribute in the form of gifts.
4. The survey of the influence exercised by Solomon on surrounding nations would be incomplete if we were to pass over that which was more directly personal the fame of his glory and his wisdom. Wherever the ships of Tarshish went, they carried with them the report, losing nothing in its passage, of what their crews had seen and heard. The journey of the queen of Sheba, though from its circumstances the most conspicuous, did not stand alone. V. Internal history.--
1. The first prominent scene in Solomon's reign is one which presents his character in its noblest aspect. God in a vision having offered him the choice of good things he would have, he chose wisdom in preference to riches or honor or long life. The wisdom asked for was given in large measure, and took a varied range. The wide world of nature, animate and inanimate, the lives and characters of men, lay before him, and he took cognizance of all but the highest wisdom was that wanted for the highest work, for governing and guiding, and the historian hastens to give an illustration of it. The pattern-instance is, in all its circumstances, thoroughly Oriental.
2. In reference to the king's finances, the first impression of the facts given us is that of abounding plenty. Large quantities of the precious metals were imported from Ophir and Tarshish.
All the kings and princes of the subject provinces paid tribute in the form of gifts, in money and in kind, "at a fixed rate year by year."
Monopolies of trade contributed to the king's treasury.
The total amount thus brought into the treasury in gold, exclusive of all payments in kind, amounted to 666 talents.
3. It was hardly possible, however, that any financial system could bear the strain of the king's passion for magnificence. The cost of the temple was, it is true, provided for by David's savings and the offerings of the people; but even while that was building, yet more when it was finished one structure followed on another with ruinous rapidity. All the equipment of his court, the "apparel" of his servants was on the same scale. A body-guard attended him, "threescore valiant men," tallest and handsomest of the sons of Israel. Forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen made up the measure of his magnificence.
As the treasury became empty, taxes multiplied and monopolies became more irksome.
4. A description of the temple erected by Solomon is given elsewhere. After seven years and the work was completed and the
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SOLOMON, or SALOMON, son of David and Bathsheba, was born A.M. 2971. The Lord loved him, and sent Nathan to David to give Solomon the name of Jedidiah, or, "beloved of the Lord," 2Sa 12:24-25. This was probably when Nathan assured David that his son should succeed him, and that he should inherit those promises which had been made to him some years before, when he had conceived the design of building a temple to the Lord; for then God declared, by the prophet Nathan, that the honour of building a temple should be reserved for his son, 2Sa 7:5, &c. Solomon, being confirmed in his kingdom, contracted an alliance with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and married his daughter, A.M. 2291. He brought her to Jerusalem, and had apartments for her in the city of David, till he should build her a palace, which he did some years afterward, when he had finished the temple. It is thought that on occasion of this marriage, Solomon composed the Canticles, which are a kind of epithalamium. The Scripture speaks of the daughter of Pharaoh, as contributing to pervert Solomon, 1Ki 11:1-2; Ne 13:26; and it is very likely, that if at first this princess might seem converted to the Lord, she afterward might retain her private disposition to idolatry, and might engage her husband in it.
Solomon, accompanied by his troops and all Israel, went up to Gibeon, where was then the brazen altar, upon which he offered a thousand burnt- offerings. The night following, God appeared to him in a dream, and said, "Ask of me what thou wilt." Solomon begged of God a wise and understanding heart, and such qualities as were necessary for the government of the people committed to him. This request pleased the Lord, and was fully granted by him. Solomon returned to Jerusalem, where he offered a great number of sacrifices on the altar before the ark of the Lord, and made a great feast for his servants. He enjoyed a profound peace throughout his dominions; Judah and Israel lived in security; and his neighbours either paid him tribute, or were his allies; he ruled over all the countries and kingdoms from the Euphrates to the Nile, and his dominions extended even beyond the former; he had abundance of horses and chariots of war; he exceeded the orientals, and all the Egyptians, in wisdom and prudence; he was the wisest of mankind, and his reputation was spread through all nations. He composed or collected, three thousand proverbs, and one thousand and five canticles. He knew the nature of plants and trees, from the cedar on Libanus to the hyssop on the wall; also of beasts, of birds, of reptiles, of fishes. There was a concourse of strangers from all countries to hear his wisdom, and ambassadors from the most remote princes.
When Hiram, king of Tyre, knew that Solomon was made king of Israel, he sent ambassadors to congratulate him on his accession to the crown. Some time afterward, Solomon desired him to supply wood and workmen, to assist in building a temple to the Lord. Hiram gladly undertook this service, and Solomon, on his part, obliged himself to give twenty thousand measures of wheat, and twenty thousand measures of oil. The Hebrew and the Vulgate have only twenty measures of oil; but the reading ought no doubt to be twenty thousand. Solomon began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign, and the second after the death of David; four hundred and eighty years after the exodus from Egypt. He employed in this great work seventy thousand proselytes, descendants of the ancient Canaanites, in carrying burdens, fourscore thousand in cutting stones out of the quarries, and three thousand six hundred overseers of the works; besides thirty thousand Israelites in the quarries of Libanus.
The temple was completed in the eleventh year of Solomon, so that he was but seven years in performing this vast work. The dedication was made the year following, A.M. 3001. To make this ceremony the more August, Solomon chose for it the eighth day of the seventh month of the holy year, which was the first of the civil year, and answered to our October. The ceremony of the dedication lasted seven days, at the end of which began the feast of tabernacles, which continued seven days longer; so that the people continued at Jerusalem fourteen or fifteen days, from the eighth to the twenty-second of the seventh month. When the ark was placed in the sanctuary, while the priests and Levites were celebrating the praises of the Lord, the temple was filled with a miraculous cloud, so that the priests could no longer stand to perform the functions of their ministry. Then Solomon, being on his throne, prostrated himself with his face to the ground; and rising up, and turning toward the sanctuary, he addressed his prayer to God, and besought him that the house which he had built might be acceptable to him, that he would bless and sanctify it, and hear the prayers of those who should address him from this holy place. He besought him also to fulfil the promises he had made to David his servant in favour of his family, and of the kings his successors. Then turning himself to the people, he solemnly blessed them. Fire coming down from heaven consumed the victims and burnt sacrifices on the altar, and the glory of the Lord filled the whole temple. On this day the king caused to be sacrificed twenty-two thousand oxen, and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep for peace-offerings. And because the altar of burnt-offerings was not sufficient for all these victims, the king consecrated the court of the people.
Solomon afterward built a palace for himself, and another for his queen, the king of Egypt's daughter. He was thirteen years in finishing these buildings, and employed in them whatever the most exquisite art, or the most profuse riches, could furnish. The palace in which he generally resided was called the house of the forest of Lebanon; probably because of the great quantity of cedar used in it. Solomon also built the walls of Jerusalem, and the place called Millo in this city; he repaired and fortified Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, the two Bethhorons, Upper and Lower, Baal-ath, and Palmyra, in the desert of Syria. He also fortified the cities where he had magazines of corn, wine, and oil; and those where his horses and chariots were kept. He brought under his government the Hittites, the Hivites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, which remained in the land of Israel. He made them tributaries, and compelled them to work at the public works. He fitted out a fleet at Ezion-Geber, and at Elath, on the Red Sea, to go to Ophir. Hiram, king of Tyre, furnished him with mariners, who instructed the subjects of Solomon. They performed this voyage in three years, and brought back gold, ivory, ebony, precious wood, peacocks, apes, and other curiosities. In one voyage they brought Solomon four hundred and fifty talents of gold, 2Ch 9:21. About the same time, the queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem, attracted by the great fame of the king. She brought rich presents of gold, spices, and precious stones; and proposed several enigmas and hard questions, to which Solomon gave her such satisfactory answers, that she owned what had been told her of his wisdom and magnificence was far short of what she had found. The king, on his part, made her rich presents in return.
Solomon was one of the richest, if not the very richest, of all princes that have ever lived; and the Scripture expressly tells us he exceeded in riches and wisdom all the kings of the earth. His annual revenues were six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, without reckoning tributes from kings and nations, or paid by Israelites, or sums received for customs. The bucklers of his guards, and the throne he sat on, were overlaid with gold. All the vessels of his table, and the utensils of his palaces, were of gold. From all parts he received presents, vessels of gold and silver, precious stuffs, spices, arms, horses, and mules; and the whole earth desired to see his face, and to hear the wisdom which God had put into his heart. But the latter actions of his life disgraced his character. Beside Pharaoh's daughter, he married wives from among the Moabites, Ammonites, Idumeans, Sidonians, and Hittites. He